ALL-OUT EFFORT: Australian Tug of War Association president Ben Hoffman and front man for Maitland Tug of War club and Australian team.
ALL-OUT EFFORT: Australian Tug of War Association president Ben Hoffman and front man for Maitland Tug of War club and Australian team. Adam Hourigan Photography

Pulling power at Wooli

IT MAY not have been obvious at first look, but among the fun and frivolity of the Wooli Goanna Pulling, a national champion was present.

They sure know how to pull a crowd, among other things, though.

The Maitland Tug of War side, the national champions and Australian representatives for the past five years, showed off its strength to the crowd, successfully defeating fellow professional pullers the Glen Innes Jellybeans.

Frontman for Maitland and president of the Australian Tug of War association Ben Hoffman said the side had represented Australia in the previous world championships at Sweden, and was looking forward to representing Australia again in 2018 in Cape Town.

"The club that wins the Australian title represents the country, which on current rankings is (Maitland)," he said.

"We are the current Australian outdoor tug of war champions for the past five years."

The team on show at Wooli was the club's mixed lightweight team, in which each member of the side averages 75kg, for a total weight of 600kg. Mr Hoffman said the competition was divided into weight divisions.

"In saying that, the world heavyweight champion's heaviest member is only 82kg. That's a Swiss side I've seen in action and they are all strength and pure technique - like what we showed today," he said.

The team is currently in their off-season, still training once a week and will step it up as competition approaches.

"From January we will move to twice a week, three times before the national titles, and four times a week before the worlds," he said.

"We do a lot of core training in the gym, a lot of leg strength and hand stamina, and what we call pulling work, where, for instance, we pull a 600-gallon drum full of concrete."

And while the side was defeated on the day here by the Goanna Pullers team, Mr Hoffman suggested they may have been at a slight disadvantage of a few hundred kilos, and maybe even an extra member.



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